interactions with consumer companies, such as Maruti Suzuki, Hero MotoCorp, LG and Panasonic revealed that there was pressure in some quarters when it came to demand in rural areas for two-wheelers, appliances and even entry-level products in categories like smartphones/laptops (the last mainly Due to excessive sales from ) during the lockdown phase). But, with demand picking up and surpassing pre-pandemic levels in some cases, broader business development has now begun to return to the hinterland.
The sale of more feature-rich products – earlier an urban phenomenon – has spread to rural areas as well, especially due to the expansion of financing companies and the easy EMI culture. Barring possible headwinds like inflation and impact of El Nino on monsoon and agriculture production, broad parameters in Tier-2 and -3 and rural markets look healthy, says Shashank Srivastava, Director (Sales & Marketing), Maruti Suzuki. “Rural is now supporting growth and at 23%, it is growing faster than urban, which is growing at 19%,” Srivastava said, adding that the share of rural in Maruti’s total sales this fiscal It is likely to be 44% as against 39% in the year. In pre-pandemic FY19.
Kamal Nandi, business head, Godrej Appliances, says rural durables had lagged behind pre-pandemic levels in several categories of durable goods such as refrigerators, washing machines and air-conditioners. “These categories were growing in rural areas over the past year, but still lag behind pre-pandemic levels, mainly due to build-up inflation. However, the numbers are rising and we believe rural areas will breach pre-pandemic volumes as well. ,
For durables, says Nandi, rural areas will see a growth of 10-15% in the coming summer season, while urban areas are likely to register a growth of over 40%.
Villagers were under pressure earlier, but now it is looking upwards, says Ranjeevjit Singh, Chief Development Officer, Hero MotoCorp. “There are clear signs that the villagers are doing well. The wedding season is round the corner and we are also witnessing healthy agricultural production. The mass consumer segment in the rural segment has been positive and we expect it to make a strong contribution as we move into the festive period in the latter half of the year. ,
Anuj Ayodhya residentLG Electronics India Vice President says that while the premium segment and urban showed a strong trend, the rural markets are also stable now. “While urban may still be strong in growth, rural will be supported and enabled by affordability solutions and financing schemes.” “Better road connectivity, Digital India, and increased economic activity when it comes to categories like ) is boosting demand,” says Alok TikkuVP at Lloyd’s